All he is
May 27, 2003
Disclaimers: Not even close to mine.
Summary: Five things that probably won't happen to Kurt.
Ratings Note: R. Some imagery people may find disturbing.
Author's Note: Jenn is such an instigator.
Acknowledgments: To Cassandra for audiencing and many helpful suggestions, and to Jenn for getting the ball rolling.
Feedback: Yes, please. firstname.lastname@example.org
He does not know her beyond reputation and a few words muttered beside a fire.
Mystique who is Magneto's lieutenant.
Mystique the presumed assassin, Mystique the master impersonator, Mystique who no one ever touches. He never expected to see her again, after that one time. Not really. Not even once he put on the uniform that had been offered to him immediately. With and without words.
He will never be used to Xavier's voice in his mind.
But this... he thinks, maybe, there will come a time when he is used to this.
Mystique touches him hungrily, all over. Traces his scars and tattoos and whispers in his ear. "You would be so pretty with another, there."
"Have you ever considered a ring?"
Sometimes she is playful, wrestling him across some motel bed and laughing silently, mouth wide and pink inside.
Sometimes she comes to him in the form of Kelly, and kisses him with the man's soft, slack mouth until he tugs at the false and greying hair. And then she growls and shifts and drags her cheek against his own, scales scraping against his skin.
"Mystique," he says, and she always says "Shh," when he calls her name. He would think, someone like her, someone so attached to the persona and the power would like to hear nothing but her name at times like these, but that is not the case.
She bites him until he howls for her, wordless and needy, and makes her teeth sharp and drags them down the center of his chest.
Draws blood with claws she didn't have moments before and watches it flow bright and red and somehow obscene over his skin. Licks it away and does it again.
There are times when he comes home -- and when did the mansion become home? He was not paying attention. -- scarred and hurting, and he knows this must not be right. If it was right, she would perhaps come home with him, and he would be able to show her to the others so they would not look at him so curiously.
She would not have trained him so assiduously in mental shielding ("they must not know") and she would not look at him...
Sometimes, when he catches her in the moments just before or just after, there is something in her eyes like the purest regret, a bright, sharp pain, that makes her growl and whine against his skin like an animal.
And always touching, always, as though she could not get enough of his simple body.
"I am not so special," he says to her, when it seems that even having him, having all of him, will not be enough to make the look fade from her eyes.
"You are mine," she says, vehement and raging somewhere just beyond his reach.
He thinks, perhaps, this means something to her.
And it is not as though it doesn't mean anything to him. He is a man, not an animal, and when he is deep inside her, when she is riding him and pressing his shoulders down to the mattress, when their eyes flare together and he can feel the heat all over his body, he wants to tell her he loves her.
He wants to know her well enough to make it true.
But this... he thinks it is maybe something like compulsion for her, a desire to get close, closer, that has nothing to do with making love and everything to do with...
He does not know.
But he thinks it is maybe compulsion for him, too. Something that makes him awake and aware in every cell when she calls the phone that has been assigned to him. Something that will always make him go to her, even though he knows it will be frantic, and painful, and not quite enough.
She needs something from him, yes, but he needs her, too.
Her hunger, and the moment's quiet satisfaction in her eyes when they are done, and the knowledge that it was him, and only him.
"Nightcrawler," she whispers, and she never calls his Christian name. "Again."
Father Wagner's church is not the largest, but it is viscerally satisfying in a way he thinks may nearly be sinful.
There is a certain desire to claim it all as his own. The old women who are the most faithful attendees, the children who help clean when no one else is available, the faith that surrounds him, and enters him in every breath.
At the seminary, every student was taught the true danger of pride, and the power that the pulpit provides, but he'd never thought it would be like... this.
Standing before the crowd of faithful, arms raised to the skies mimicking their Lord and savior, Kurt has to smile. To bask in it.
No, these people do not come to every mass, but they are here for this one. Eyes open and lips parted for the Word as only he can provide. His collar is a wonderful chafe against the skin of his throat, and he does not adjust it for a better fit.
Instead, he runs his hands through his curly brown hair, and smiles ever wider.
"Today," he says, "the world faces a threat unlike any other. Demons walk among you, my friends, and some may even have the faces of normal people. Good people. They call themselves 'mutants,' as if they were as natural as you and I, but we know better, don't we?"
All of them nod, caught on his every word.
It will be a good service.
He wakes up to faint dampness on the sheets, and the crunch of frost. It is better than any alarm clock, so he knows that when he sees Bobby he will be more amused than chiding.
Bobby, with his wide and open blue eyes and taste for fun...
And they have a lot of it, the two of them. Kurt teleporting Scott out of his bed just long enough for Bobby to freeze it solid, Bobby making ice slides through emptiness as they teleport together, a broken white line against the sky as they move, like some great blue road.
The illusion falls with the ice as they fly and 'port and fly, but it always makes him laugh. Makes Bobby whoop and hold him tighter.
He thinks they are maybe the terror of everyone else at the school, but not in a bad way. They make everyone laugh, and God knew the people, these X-Men, they needed a little fun in their lives.
Bobby makes snowballs for Kurt to juggle until his hands are numb.
Kurt sometimes -- only sometimes, or Scott would make him suffer -- teleports Bobby out of math class and up into a tree, where they can hide together until the Professor tracks them down again. Bobby wraps Kurt's tail around his own neck, and sighs when Kurt squeezes, just a little.
This closeness between them had been a surprise, something he had barely had time to want before it happened. But that is... nothing but Bobby. Quick and ready and open with everyone, and moreso with him.
"It's okay if you're looking at me," he'd said. "Because I'm looking, too."
So much bravery, so much possibility, as if the world was nothing more nor less than a wonderful toy-room between them both. A place for play, and to find all the happiness they could get.
It is... good with Bobby. Every kiss fully meant, every touch full of the joy of it. He has never felt so human as he does with Bobby, and he thinks that there is a lesson in that.
You are never so wise as when you are foolish with love, perhaps, or something similar. Something that would make Scott raise an eyebrow at them from behind his glasses, and make Logan stomp around and snort cynically.
It does not matter. His instincts in this are his own, and he knows to trust them. Nothing quite so good, and easy, and natural could ever be wrong. And if he sometimes looks at Bobby and wonders if he was ever quite so young, then, well, it is the prerogative of a man who will never see thirty again.
Except in Bobby's eyes, just before a kiss.
Just before they leap through one of Kurt's portals, and into the unknown.
Sometimes, he doesn't know why he is here.
There is no beauty in this place of metal, save for whatever transitory art Magneto makes of it. His 'brothers' are more often crude and angry than anything else, and then there is Mystique.
Mystique who never quite looks at him, and never talks to him save to perfect his voice and manner of speech.
There are times when it is necessary for Kurt to be in two places at once.
Still, it's the word 'necessary' that is most important in that sentence.
He would not be here, otherwise. And that is both comfort and goad. He is not like the rest of them, these people who would not know truth did it not come from Magneto's own mouth.
These people who do not care, necessarily, what they do, so long as no mutants are harmed. (Or only the X-Men, yes?)
The X-Men, and how anyone, any mutant could look at this world and fight so hard to keep it just the same, he will never know. And he thinks he could, perhaps, respect them more if they fought the Brotherhood in all things, and yet...
And yet. Mystique is never safer than when she is in Senator Kelly's skin.
They are never more inviolate than when they break into one of the uncountable facilities that aren't supposed to exist, when they free the mutants there who can move, and kill the ones who only wish to die.
And it's true, some of them go to Xavier, but not all. Never all.
No one understands the need of mutants in this world better than a mutant who has been under the knife.
Victor, with his unbreakable bones. Henry, who mutates anew every several months. Now blue and furry, now not. Himself...
There is a scar on the back of his neck, and memories of a time buried beneath the earth. A time spent in Stryker's care, and subject to experimentation and a very particular kind of re-education.
Sometimes, if he's very careful and very calm, he can remember how it started. His cage among the circus-folk, and the kindly American man full of promises, and with pockets fat enough with money to make them real. He remembers a long car ride, and a longer plane ride.
And he remembers... not much of anything at all after that, save for pain, and the feeling of having his body belong to someone other than himself.
And no, he had not needed Erik to tell him that he was different, truly different from all the others -- these X-Men with their pretty human faces and pretty human toys. He had known that all along, had it beaten into him in Germany time and again.
Once upon a time, he escaped from the circus and saw a church carved with reliefs of the saints and with the sort of lush, empty silence that only stone could provide. He'd remembered the tales of sanctuary, and the word itself had felt like benediction.
In his child dreams, in his child way, he had fashioned a sort of rosary from bits of stone and string.
The priest had taken one look at him and called the police.
No, Kurt knows this world, or as much of it as he cares to.
Sometimes he doesn't know why he's here, but most of the time he is sure.
He remembers the air forced out of his lungs when he teleported out of the plane to catch Rogue. He remembers the children, and how they all fell silent when he went to get them, then pounced on him and clutched his legs and clamored to be saved.
He remembers many things, many moments in his life to be happy with. The secret pride in how he'd tried, and kept trying to get to Jean before the water could, and the feel of cold metal beneath his knees as he and Ororo -- mostly Ororo -- had managed to keep the Professor from committing genocide.
The Professor and he share a faith, though perhaps not enough of the language to discuss in a way they both want. But it is good, sometimes, to be able to look at the man and see an understanding.
The love they share for God, and for all of His works. He had even learned enough Yiddish to pray with Kitty when there was no one else.
And there are other things he has learned, as well. Like... swordplay. Enough of it to live out every fantasy of Errol Flynn he'd ever had -- if only in the Danger Room, thus far.
He would not be himself if he could honestly imagine using the sword on another human being, though there have been times when being an X-Man has made the thought... appealing.
But, he has friends, and something like a quest, and all of it just serves to make him more of the man he has always wanted to be. More than that -- to make him feel like more of that man. He walks tall. And the sword...
Logan used to talk to him about the sword. He'd known someone who knew someone who could make him one that could only be broken -- or beaten -- by adamantium. Kurt thinks, maybe, Logan related to him most when he was wreaking ever-so-realistic havoc in the Danger Room.
And he thinks, also, that it was maybe why he never responded, or responded as well as he could have.
He doesn't like that part of himself that revels in the violence, in all the things he can do with his body.
It is one thing to leap and spin and tumble for a crowd, and another entirely to use those skills to cripple someone, even the imaginary representation of an enemy. But Logan...
"Good moves, there, kid," he'd say, and Kurt would wonder just how much older than them all Logan really was, and smile and walk away.
"If you go for the gut immediately, they'll bend and you can catch 'em at the neck," he'd say, and Kurt would nod tightly.
"From the back -- always hamstring first." And Kurt would...
Shut the program down and leave, more often than not.
And Logan never chided him for it, or demanded an explanation. And now that he has the time and space -- always, so much time -- to think about it, Kurt thinks that maybe Logan didn't expect any less.
With him, it was the sword.
With Rogue, it was the power between them, and the memories she could lift from his mind.
With everyone else...
Well, it was always the wrong thing, yes?
That which was most likely to drive them away, rather than bring them closer. When he feels uncharitable, he can blame Logan for that, if only in his own mind. He was an intelligent man, and older, so much older than the rest of them. Surely, if he wanted a way to be a part of them, he could've paid attention to all the signs and half-spoken hints they had given him.
Not here, I can't, not like this, and all the ways they had pushed Logan away.
And now, he was... well, that was the question, wasn't it? Most of the children believed the man had simply returned to Alaska, or perhaps Canada. That he would be back someday.
The rest of them... Kurt looks at the other teachers and he sees the same sick fear in their eyes that lives behind his own. That they will see him again, and this time he'll be... with people who don't run when he pushes. Who will welcome all the darkness within him, and never ask for more.
When he thinks of that, of the man Logan is becoming without them all, without the slightest effort on his own part to be a true friend, he has to return to his room, and to the Book.
And try to find a path to the man he thinks he should be.
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